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            China launches new communications satellite

            By ZHAO LEI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-01-13 11:33
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            A photo shows the APSTAR 6E inside a testing chamber at the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

            China launched a Long March 2C carrier rocket early on Friday morning to transport a communications satellite, the first based on the DFH-3E platform, into space.

            The rocket blasted off at 2:10 am at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan province and soon deployed the APSTAR 6E satellite into its preset geosynchronous orbit, according to a press release from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the nation's dominant space contractor.

            The State-owned company said the satellite will be used to provide high-throughput and broadband communication services to Southeast Asian countries.

            Designed and built by the China Academy of Space Technology, a CASC subsidiary, APSTAR 6E is the first based on the electrically propelled DFH-3E satellite platform, which is intended for operations in geosynchronous orbit.

            A satellite platform is a framework used to assemble a satellite, or satellite system, in accordance with its role and function. It consists of the universal equipment needed by any satellite such as a power source, propulsion and orbital control devices, as well as instruments specifically designed for the satellite in question. This permits easy configuration.

            With a liftoff weight of 4.3 metric tons, the APSTAR 6E carries 25 Ku-band transponders and three Ka-band gateway transponders that can provide a combined communication throughput of 30 gigabytes per minute, said Wang Min, the satellite's chief designer.

            Developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, another CASC subsidiary, the Long March 2C rocket is 43 meters long and 3.35 meters wide and has a liftoff weight of more than 240 tons. It is the longest-serving rocket model in the Long March family and is mainly used to deploy satellites to low-Earth and sun-synchronous orbits.

            The launch on Friday marked the 66th flight of the Long March 2C and the 460th of the Long March fleet. It is China's third rocket launch in 2023.

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